Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Dozens Sleep outside Manitoba Legislature to Press for Missing Women Inquiry

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Dozens Sleep outside Manitoba Legislature to Press for Missing Women Inquiry

Article excerpt

Protesters camping out, calling for inquiry

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WINNIPEG - The death of a 15-year-old girl has prompted dozens of people to camp in the shadow of Manitoba's legislature for days, calling for an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.

A group set up tents across the street from the legislature almost two weeks ago, following the discovery of Tina Fontaine's body wrapped in a bag in the Red River. The number of tents has continued to grow, as has the resolve and optimism of many protesters who hope this tragedy can be a turning point.

Kylo Prince, who has been at the camp for days, said the abuse of aboriginal women is a continuation of the "genocide" of native people in Canada and has to stop. The families of missing and murdered women need closure and Canada has to deal with the underlying issues that contribute to these tragedies, he said.

Prince said protesters are celebrating because the federal Conservative government has said it is willing to participate in a roundtable discussion about missing and murdered aboriginal women.

"For a man like Stephen Harper to say he might have been wrong, that's a huge victory. That's what we've been praying for," Prince said.

"If I had no hope, I wouldn't be standing here. I would be sitting in an alley, slamming some whisky with a needle in my arm and a crack pipe hanging out of my lips. But no, there is hope. We will conquer the darkness, but with light. We can't fight it with anger or hatred."

The death of Fontaine, who had run away from foster care and was missing for 10 days before her body was discovered, reignited calls across the country for a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.

An RCMP report released in May estimated almost 1,200 aboriginal women have gone missing or been murdered in the past three decades. Although aboriginal women make up 4. …

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